Philips Shuts Down Pronto Universal Remote Line

Logitech, you're on your own now. Philips, which has been a major competitor in the home theater space for years, has just shut down a prominent part of that division: Pronto. Any home cinema buff would be familiar with that name, as that's the name of the company's universal remote control line. It was widely viewed as the main rival to Logitech's Harmony remote line, and with Pronto gone, there's a huge gap in that sector that now needs filled.

Insiders would know that Philips has actually been struggling to find a buyer for the Pronto remote line since 2009. They haven't been successful in the search, so they're simply shutting it down and saying that Pronto "no longer fits with the Philips strategy." Here's the official line: "In December 2009, Philips announced the intention to relocate some of its existing remote control activities in Leuven, Belgium to Asia. At the same time, the intention was communicated to investigate alternative strategic options for the Pronto business, as this activity no longer fits with the Philips strategy. Following thorough research, no suitable partner was found for the acquisition of these activities. As such, Philips confirms today that it will discontinue the Pronto product line and related activities."

This is definitely a big loss for home theater buffs. It's hard to imagine a remote landscape without the Pronto, and by the sound of it, existing owners may not be catered for much longer. After-purchase support is critical in a market where universal remotes need new codes to handle new equipment, so it will be interesting to see how Philips responds to service requests from here on out. If you're thinking of starting a remote business to challenge Logitech, now looks like a great time.